ISR and Socialist Party members went to visit the Queen when she came to Leicester this week. We joined the (smaller than I expected) crowd and held up ISR placards calling for the abolition of the Monarchy as the Windsors came past. They seemed very interested in reading them!
We then proceeded to hand out ISR leaflets explaining why we want the Monarchy scrapped(see text below).
I must admit I felt little trepidation before we started, wondering what reception we would get from the crowd. But actually we didn't meet any real hostility! No doubt there were a few royalty hard-liners. But most people seemed to be city centre workers who had been given time off to see the Queen, and were there out of curiosity.
A few politely handed back our leaflets, but some agreed with us. One bloke said to me: "With no monarchy we would have had President Thatcher in the 1980's" But someone else in the crowd started heckling him! At least we would have a chance to vote her out! He then took some of our leaflets to hand out.
Even the guy selling Union Jack flags said "Good on you, I'm only selling this stuff". If the purpose of the Jubilee tour is to prop up the flagging support of the Monarchy, I'm not sure it has made that much impact. The local press reports about the streets being packed with Royalists seem to be somewhat exaggerated.
It wasn't a mass protest, but it was fun, and maybe we made a few people think!
Leicester First buses get a re-vamp?
End Low Pay! - Is £5,000 an hour enough?
When today's festivities are over, the streets will be cleaned of litter by people paid less than £5 an hour. 2 weeks ago over a million council workers went on strike because they are on low pay but the local authorities say they have no money.
By contrast the Queen is paid by the taxpayer the equivalent of £5,000 an hour! But this is only the tip of the royal wealth iceberg.
At a time when the numbers living in poverty in Britain are greater than ever and when public services are starved of cash the royal wealth looks obscene.
Every year the taxpayers fork out £15 millions for the maintenance of the royal palaces. On top of this the Windsors get £9m for the "Civil List". This is despite the vast fortunes that they privately own (and pay no inheritance tax on). The Queen's private wealth is valued at £1.15 bn excluding the main royal palaces and property "held in trust for the nation" -such as the largest private art collection in the world. Last year it came out that a secret deal done with Winston Churchill allowing her alone to reclaim tax on dividends and interest from investments has been worth about £1 billion to her.
A few trinkets....
- 6 properties that the Queen owns as sovereign - including Buckingham Palace with its 600 staff and vast art collection and Windsor Castle with its 1,000 rooms.
- The Queens privately owned estates at Sandringham and Balmoral
- £102m stamp and medal collection
- £72m in Jewels
- £7.1m worth of cars
- £3.6m in race horses
- 30 furs (kept in the fridge at Buck House!) worth £1m
Is she just a "figurehead"?
The monarch has to sign parliamentary bills before they can become law, has the right to appoint the Prime Minister and the government (irrespective of who has a parliamentary majority), and has the right to dissolve parliament.
The Armed Forces, Judges, MPs and all senior Government officers swear allegiance to the Crown - not the elected parliament.
These powers, at a time of crisis could be used to dismiss a government and even use the armed forces against anyone trying to change society or fighting against the interests of the ruling class.
Surely these powers are just nominal and wouldn't be used by today's emasculated monarchy?
In 1931 Ramsay MacDonald split the Labour Party by resigning as Prime Minister and forming a "National Government" in coalition with the Tories and Liberals in order to carry through attacks on the working class. It was the King who gave him the commission to resume as Prime Minister of the new government.
More recently, it was the Queen's representative in Australia Sir John Kerr who dismissed the Labour Government of Gough Whitlam in 1975
We say: Abolish the Monarchy!
International Socialist Resistance activity in Leicester
International Socialist Resistance (ISR) was set up with representatives from across the world at a conference in Belgium at the end of 2001. The first conference of the British ISR was held at the end of last year and there is a branch in Leicester. email firstname.lastname@example.org For more info or check out the ISR national website
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